Five new Cal/OSHA regulations adopted in November 2020 were recently revised and adopted June 17, 2021. The regulations are designed to help protect employees from COVID-19 at work. They apply to every California business, except for:
- Places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with other persons
- Employees working from home
- Employers covered by Title 8, Section 5199 of the California Code of Regulations (primarily health care providers, correctional facilities, drug treatment programs and homeless shelters)
- Employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice that is not under control of the employer
Requirements for California employers
- Create a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) and implement its protective measures
- Provide COVID-19 testing at no cost and during paid time to employees after a workplace COVID-19 exposure
- Maintain wages and benefits for employees who cannot work due to a COVID-19 exposure or illness from the workplace
- Follow special grouping requirements if providing housing or transportation to employees
The COVID-19 Prevention Program
Employers must develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) explaining your plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in your workplace. It must include employee training and reducing exposure hazards. If you don’t yet have a CPP, you should create one right away. To help you comply, we provide a CPP template that you can download and modify for your business operations.
If you are already using our template, you don’t have to revise your program. Instead, download the CPP addendum, which covers the changes to the regulation. Modify the CPP addendum for your business and attach it to your existing CPP.
Providing COVID-19 testing
Employers must provide COVID-19 testing to unvaccinated employees if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are exposed to a COVID-19 case. Vaccinated employees are only tested if they had close contact with a COVID-19 case and have symptoms. The testing must be available during paid working hours and free of charge to the employee. Additional testing requirements apply during workplace outbreaks. Check with your local health department for information on testing and free testing resources in your county.
Employers must send home employees with COVID-19 or employees who were exposed to the coronavirus on the job, and must pay them while they cannot work. Employers can use employer-provided sick leave and other COVID-19 leave benefits from public sources to cover wages for employees isolating at home. This rule is limited to workplace exposures. Employers must prove that the exposure was not work-related if they are not paying the employees to stay home.